Every year, 31 per cent of babies, or more than 570,000, are delivered in Bangladesh through unnecessary Caesarean sections, speakers at a roundtable said Thursday.
Prothom Alo, in association with Save the Children, organised the roundtable titled 'Promoting Normal Delivery and Preventing Unnecessary Caesarean Section' at Karwan Bazar’s CA Bhaban in the capital.
Save the Children’s deputy country director, Ishtiaq Mannan, in his presentation said, unnecessary C-sections are conducted due to factors such as non-evidence-based indications, professional incompetence, maternal preference and profit making mind-set. The C-section surgeries cost patients 483 million dollars per year, he added.
Apart from economic factors, unnecessary C-sections put mothers and babies at various health related risks.
He said 84 per cent deliveries in private hospitals are carried out through C-sections.
DGHS additional director general AHM Enayet Hussain urged senior obstetricians to mentor juniors so that they can conduct more vaginal deliveries.
“Also, there is a common misconception among the people that C-section delivery is safer than normal delivery. Social awareness should be created to dispel such a wrong conception,” Enayet Hussain added.
Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council president, Mohammod Shahidullah, said skin to skin contact between new born and mother, breast feeding and Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC) get hampered due to C-section birth.
"We have to find out where normal deliveries are being conducted more and learn from our success stories," he added.
Saying that ethical erosion has happened among the healthcare providers, Shahidullah said, the BMDC has conducted a programme on ethics and etiquette of physicians in three divisions.
Maternal health specialist Rowshan Ara Begum said, there should be sophisticated labour rooms with certified midwives in every healthcare facility of the country.
UNFPA’s health system specialist, Dewan Md Emdadul Hoque, said that good environment and labour room's privacy are important for increasing normal deliveries.
Chief of child health department of Icddr’b, Shams El Arifeen, said that it is encouraging that midwifery has been introduced to Bangladesh since last 5-6 years but they should be given enabling environment for work.
Brac University’s midwifery education programme head, Selina Amin, urged the authorities to ensure speedy licensing mechanism for midwives.
DGHS’ MNCAH line director, Md Shamsul Haque, said that district and upazila hospitals have seen an increase of normal delivery by 20 per cent in 2018 comparing to 2016, thanks to various government initiatives.
BPCDOA secretary general, Md Mainul Ahsan, said private clinics should not be established just to make money.
Highlighting ethical practices, he urged the authorities to follow strict regulation in giving license for private clinics.
Supreme Court lawyer, Rashna Imam, said that the High Court has directed the authorities to prepare a draft guideline for stopping unnecessary C-Sections within next December.
"We will appeal to the court to turn the guideline into law," she added.
Family planning’s assistant director Manjur Hossain, Centre for Women and Child Health’s director Khurshid Talukder, deputy director and programme manager of maternal health Mushaer-ul-Islam, OGSB secretary general Saleha Begum Chowdhury and Save the Children’s Shamim Jahan, among others, spoke at the roundtable.
Prothom Alo associate editor Abdul Quayyum conducted the roundtable and special affairs coordinator Firoz Choudhury delivered a concluding speech.